I will be contesting upcoming Kerala Assembly elections from Thiruvananthapuram constituency.
I was not involved in active politics in school or college even though I come from a family of left background. My father is active in CPI(M). That spirit go back to his uncle (Panku Kuttiachan) and now continued by my cousins. My entry into activism started when I was studying at NIT Calicut with Free Software. Then with influence from my good friend Anivar Aravind and working with Lokayat in Pune, I slowly started taking interest in social issues. When Anna Hazare movement was in its peak, I realized people will come out in support if you are genuine. This understanding was reinforced when AAP came to power in Delhi. But I felt the focus on corruption is too shallow and we have to go much deeper to fix the root cause of why so many people are unhappy with the current system.
From experience of many groups, I have realized focus on discipline usually translate to suppressing dissent and focusing of power in a few hands. So any organization I start has to have dissent as the core value. When we started Pirate Party of India and Sarbajit came and criticized us, there was pressure to ban him. But I knew there is no point in keeping an organization after compromising its core value. So we let Pirate Party die as we did not have to strength to withstand the criticism.
But the spirit of making change was not died and we started Pirate Movement of India. It also gave us room to relax and Pirate Party name meant pressure to register as a party and enter electoral politics. There was no trust among the members as we were just an online group. We campaigned on cycle across Kerala to promote Pirate Ideas under Pirate Movement banner.
We were on Kairali channel and many news papers covered the campaign.
Then we could not sustain that either, Indian Pirates came as the third attempt. We campaigned for privacy under Diaspora Yatra along with many other organizations. Now its time to reach out to even wider public and share our ideas, learn from their experience and expand our collective.
We just launched a crowd funding campaign to raise money for the elections expense. (Update: We have shut down the Indiegogo campaign because FCRA prohibits receiving money from foreign sources. You can contribute directly at https://www.instamojo.com/@piratepraveen) Contribute and share it in your circles.
Before I close, I’ll share about my education and work experience as well. Mine was the last Pre-Degree batch and my college was MES college Mannarkkad. I completed Btech at NIT Calicut and worked in companies like HP, Red Hat and in places like Bengaluru, Pune, Cupertino, Seattle, Chicago… I realized spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week strengthening the system and then trying to change the exact same system in spare time can’t really succeed. But at the same time we cannot completely avoid working jobs. So I chose to be a Free Software consultant, I have flexibility in my work hours and I can always prioritize what is important for me. I hope more of us will understand this and we can create more worker owned and worker managed companies so the 8 hours/5 days can also be used to drive change.
The dream is a just society where luck will not be the deciding factor how well we do in our lives. Indian Pirates is small and an experiment, but if you believe in this vision, you can join us and together we can walk towards that dream.